Courtney betting prestige, ‘treats,’ on Huskies

In a time-honored congressional tradition, Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, has publicly challenged a colleague on who will come out on top in a key game in this year’s NCAA basketball tournament.

Courtney, who represents Storrs and is a UConn grad, bet South Florida Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz that he Huskies would prevail over the University of Florida Gators in a game Saturday that will determine which one of the teams go on to play for the NCAA championship.

“Florida has looked strong in this year’s NCAA tournament, but we can’t forget the last team the Gators fell to this season:  To UConn,” a cocky Courtney said in a statement.  “The Gators have already gotten a taste of Shabazz Napier’s last-second heroics, and with him and Kevin Ollie leading this UConn team, I’m confident we’ll see them playing again Monday for the National Championship.”

If the Huskies lose, however, Courtney has to pay up. He said he’d  provide a gift basket of eastern Connecticut “signature treats,”  including Munson’s Chocolates, Selbuort Valley Farms Maple Syrup, Cato Corner Cheese, Deep River Chips, Jarmoc cigars and Cottrell Beer.

If the Huskies win, Wasserman-Shultz will be the one making the loser’s pilgrimage to Courtney’s Capitol Hill office, bearing a platter of Gainsville, Fla-based Burrito Bros. burritos and guacamole

But Wasserman Shultz said she’s confident she will not be humbled in the  Husky-Gator matchup.

“Unlike their last game versus UConn, the Gators are playing at full strength and with legendary coach Billy Donovan at the helm, Florida is just one Husky road-kill away en route to their third basketball championship,” she said.

Courtney says he made a similar wager with Rep. Anna Eshoo of California who represents Stanford University.  Stanford and UConn will meet Sunday for the NCAA Women’s basketball semifinal.

This is the fourth time that UConn’s men’s and women’s basketball teams have reached the Final Four in the same year.

About Ana Radelat

Ana is a longtime Washington correspondent who has won numerous awards, including from The Associated Press and Gannett, has written for more than a dozen newspapers, including USAToday; The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger; the Shreveport (La.) Times; and the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser. She’s also been a regular contributor to other publications, including the Miami Herald and Advertising Age. Some of the stories Ana has broken focused on the strategies of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Sen. Trent Lott’s fall from power and questionable Hurricane Katrina contracts. A regular contributor to WNPR, Connecticut Public Radio, a partner of The Mirror, Ana is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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